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Win the Rat Race

Posted by Doogie Levine

We’ve all worked jobs we hated. We were underpaid, underappreciated, and bored out of our minds. We either quit these jobs or were fired for poor performance because we just gave up. Instead of taking that approach, you need to consider every job an opportunity to learn something new that you can apply down the line to find success.

When you give people the tools they need to come up with unordinary solutions, you are enhancing their lives for the long run. What if one of your terrible jobs had been one with no pay at all, and you needed to come up with some ingenious ways of making money and finding value? 

You’re an entrepreneur, I bet if you were forced into this situation you would find a way to make ends meet and position yourself to reach your long-term goals. This same urgency can be applied to your company now.

I don’t recommend going into the next meeting declaring that no one will receive pay anymore. Instead, you can tell your employees that their potential raises, bonuses, and other perks are now dependent on their creativity in ways to enhance business. Present them with the opportunity and put success in their hands. This is the abundance mindset approach, it simply says there are infinite possibilities, resources, and opportunities it is up to us to see them and take advantage. 

Adapting an abundance mindset is integral to your success, the company’s success, and your employees. One way to start becoming abundance-minded is through a concept called financial literacy. A concept that sadly is not taught in school but is still essential to know.

 So, what is financial literacy? 

Our culture teaches people to be good employees and not employers. This mindset will never make you wealthy. Instead, you need to focus on becoming a good employer. You also need to learn how to not only attain wealth but sustain wealth for generations. This is what financial literacy is all about.

So, how do you get out of the rat race and start working toward a wealthier future? You need to understand the difference between an asset and a liability. Take a look at your own life, and you’ll probably find the following:

Assets

  • Real Estate
  • Stocks
  • Bonds
  • Intellectual Property

Liabilities

  • Mortgage
  • Consumer Loans
  • Credit Cards

You’ve probably been fooled into thinking things like your house, car, and entertainment system are assets. They aren’t! Assets should be continuing to make you money. When you continue to struggle, you are not building wealth. If your primary income is from wages and each time you make more money, you pay taxes, you’re not creating wealth either, are you?

So, if buying a house isn’t an asset (and it’s not because you spend about 30 years of your life paying it off), then what is? Here are some of the best assets to attain and when you can start to see wealth being created because of it:

Average time of holding on to an asset before selling it for a higher value:

One year

  • Stocks (Startups and small companies are good investments)
  • Bonds
  • Mutual funds

Seven years

  • Real estate
  • Notes (IOUs)
  • Royalties on intellectual property
  • Valuables that produce income or appreciate

So, here are the steps to getting out of the rat race and onto your journey of creating wealth:

  1. Understand the difference between an asset and a liability.
  2. Concentrate your efforts on buying income-earning assets.
  3. Focus on keeping liabilities and expenses at a minimum.
  4. Mind your own business.

If you need help getting out of the poor mindset and into the wealthy one, start by reading “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill. Then schedule a call with one of our coaches to integrate wealth concepts into your company’s daily operations.

We went through the first three, and next time we’ll talk about how to mind your own business to keep your eye on the prize. 


20,000 ft to go until your next client

Posted by Doogie Levine

In my previous blog, I gave you a laundry list of tips and tricks you can use to make your word of mouth program work for you. Hopefully, you’ve had a chance to review and decide which one to three tips you plan to use in your campaign.

If you have not, make sure you go back and read the list, pick the tips and tricks the best fit your product/service, ideal customer, and company culture.

Today, we will wrap up this series on word-of-mouth, where we provide you with a 20,000-foot view of your campaign. 

Now, let’s get started building your campaign:

  1. Build your influencer network.
    1.  Find some way to get the product into the hands of key influencers. A good influencer is passionate about the problem you solve with your product/service and has access to 5000 or more of your ideal customers.
    2. Provide a channel or help the influencer to activate theirs, allowing them to share their experience.
  2. Review & Testimonials 
    1. Capture testimonials from the beginning and before they’re done with your service or product.
    2. Offers lots of testimonials and other resources.
    3. Develop clips on your website featuring enthusiastic customers talking with other excited customers. 
    4. Create an opportunity for prospective clients to meet past clients.
  3. Create an opportunity to share experiences 
    1. Form an ongoing group that meets once a year in a resort and once a month by teleconference.
    2. Create fun events to bring users together and invite non-users. Saturn, Harley-Davidson, and Lexus have all been successful with this approach.
    3. Hold seminars and workshops.
    4. Create a club with membership benefits.
  4. Gorilla 
    1. Pass out flyers. 
    2. Tell friends. 
      1. Offer special incentives and discounts for friends who tell their friends.
    3. Put business cards on all the cars you see
  5. Put the Internet to work.
    1. Do at least one outrageous thing to generate word-of-mouth. We live in an age of 10s video’s.
  6. Empower employees to go the extra mile.
  7. Encourage networking and brainstorming ideas.
  8. Run special sales.
  9. Encourage referrals with the use of a strong referral program.
  10. Use a script to tell people exactly what to say in their word-of-mouth communication.

These are all fantastic ways to get the word out about your products and services and start a word-of-mouth campaign that takes on a life of its own. However, before you can release your word-of-mouth campaign out into the world, you need to go through the checklist to make sure you’ve covered all the essentials.

Word-of-mouth campaign checklist:

  • Are all of your communications sending the same simple message? If it can’t survive word-of-mouth, it’s not a compelling story.
  • Is your product positioned as part of a category? Ex.”A dandruff shampoo that doesn’t dry your hair.”
  • Are your examples outrageous enough to be shared?
  • Do you enhance your materials with success stories from real people?
  • Are you using experts effectively and in an objective manner?
  • Have you created mechanisms so people can follow up on the word-of-mouth they hear, as well as simple ways of inquiring or ordering?
  • Have you made the decision process easy for customers?
  • Have you created events and mechanisms so that your prospects hear about your product/service once a year, and it is easier to try or buy?
  • Have you written down the specific behaviors you want your prospect to follow during each step of the campaign?
  • Are your people primed? 
  • Am I ready to handle all the additional communication?
  • Am I ready to handle all the additional business?

These are essential elements to keep in mind when taking a second or even third check over your word-of-mouth campaigns. I hope you’ve found this series on word-of-mouth to be a great resource and are getting ready to put it into action for your products and services. Remember, if you need help with anything in this series, try our FREE test drive to gain access to the best resources, tools, and business coaches you can find.


39 Tried and True Lessons to Put Your Word-of-Mouth to Work

Posted by Doogie Levine

In the last post, we talked about conducting word-of-mouth research and then putting that research to work. Today we’re going to give you 39 great tried and true ways to use word-of-mouth when building and executing your campaign.

We’ve done it in a list form, so you can go through and highlight the ones you want to put into action. For more information read George Silverman’s “The Secrets of Word of Mouth Marketing”.

Here they are:

  1. Give them something worth talking about
  2. Cater to your initial customers shamelessly
  3. Give them incentives to engage in word of mouth
  4. Ask them to tell their friends
  5. The customer is always right
  6. Always tell the truth
  7. Surprise the customers by giving them a little more than they expected 
  8. Give them a reason to buy, make them come back, and refuse service from anyone else other than you
  9. Make eye contact, and smile, even through the telephone
  10. Find ways to make doing business with you a little better: a warmer greeting, a cleaner floor, nicer lighting, a better shopping bag, extra matches, faster service, free delivery, lower prices, more selection.
  11. Never be annoyed when a customer asks you to change a large bill even if he doesn’t buy anything.
  12. The customer is your reason for being. Never take her for granted. If you do, she will never come back and will go straight to your competition.
  13. Always dust off items, but never let the customer see you doing it.
  14. Never embarrass a customer, especially by making him feel ignorant.
  15. Never answer a question coming from a desire to show how smart you are. Answer with a desire to help the customer make the best decision.
  16. Never shout across the store, “How much are these condoms?” or anything about the personal items a customer is buying.
  17. When you don’t know, say so. Do whatever you can to find out the answer.
  18. Every customer is special. Try to remember their names.
  19. Don’t allow known shoplifters into the store.
  20. Don’t ever let two sales staff talk when a customer is waiting. The worst thing you can do is count your cash while a customer is waiting.
  21. If you can suggest something better, they will be grateful. Always respect their choice.
  22. Never pressure anyone into buying anything.
  23. Never knowingly give bad advice. Just help people come to the right decision.
  24. Personally visit the store of the competition or assign people to visit and report back to you.
  25. Hire a shopping service to prepare periodic reports on how your people are treating your customers.
  26. If you hear of a store where the management is insulting the customers, buy it, then put up the sign “Under New Management” outside. Then sell it later based on the increased sales.
  27. One expert (in the drugstore’s case, a nurse or physician) who is convinced you are better brings hundreds of customers and their friends through word of mouth.
  28. Always look for ways to make a stranger a customer.
  29. People will walk several blocks to save a dollar, or see a smile, or be treated right.
  30. Always run a sale promotion or an offbeat event. Make them come back to see what you are cooking up next.
  31. Use the best sign-maker you can find and pay him more than anybody else.
  32. If someone is mad at you, they will tell everyone who will listen for as long as they are angry, maybe even longer. So correct any dissatisfaction, and ask customers to send their friends.
  33. Treat your employees and salespeople who sell to you the same way you treat your customers.
  34. Have a zero-error system. There may be terrible consequences for example if a mistake is made filling a prescription. Have people check each other’s work for safety.
  35. Occasionally make intentional mistakes to see if people are checking.
  36. Always measure your performance.
  37. Always ask a customer to “come back soon.”
  38. If customers say they are moving away, offer to send them their favorite items by mail.
  39. Tell jokes.

I know your looking at this exhaustive list and asking yourself how can I implement these lessons. We’re going to wrap up this lesson to give you a chance to digest, prioritize, and plan. To aid you with this here is a little homework assignment.

Go through the list again, find 1 or 2 lessons that fit your company and that you feel you can implement. Then I want you to write down we business activities the lessons are relevant to. Next, write down a no more than 5 step process to implement those lessons into that business activity. This will provide you with a quick action plan.

If you need help with this process, feel free to email me at doogie@ideasactionsuccess.com and I will review it and provide you with feedback. 

Remember the best time to change was yesterday, so you better start today.


Search & Implement

Posted by Doogie Levine

People only remember the extraordinary, strange, wild, surprising, and unusual. You need to make sure your ideas and marketing reflect these reactions. This doesn’t mean you have to have a product or service that is completely out of the norm; in fact, this could easily drive customers away. You need to have a product or service that is high quality and marketable, then you need to market it as extraordinary and new. 

As you research word of mouth, there are some questions you need to ask along the way:

What are the users willing to tell the non-users?

  • Exactly how do your customers describe your product?
  • What are the non-users willing to ask the users?
  • What are the things they need to know but are unwilling to ask?
  • What happens when these issues are raised?
  • Precisely what do your prospects have to know to trigger purchase?
  • Exactly how do your customers answer the objections, concerns, and qualms of your prospects?
  • How do your customers persuade their friends to use your product?
  • How do your customers suggest they initially get to know or try your product?
  • What warnings, safeguards, tips, and suggestions do your customers tell to your prospects?
  • Are your sales messages, positioning, and important facts about your product getting through and surviving word of mouth?
  • What messages do you need to inject into the marketplace to turn the tide in your favor, and how will you deliver them?

There are two main reasons why word of mouth research is so important:

  1. To get the real impression and feedback from customers
  2. To define word of mouth itself and the concept it creates

There is a simple formula that can help you conduct your word-of-mouth research. It’s called the “2-2-2” model.

2-2-2- Model

What this breaks down to is:

  • Two groups of customers 
  • Two focus groups of prospects
  • Two mixed groups (enthusiasts & skeptics)

In these groups, you need to ask the following questions:

  1. What would you tell a friend?
  2. How would you persuade a skeptic?
  3. What questions would you anticipate from a skeptic?
  4. How would you answer their objections?

The best way to conduct these groups is by teleconference. This ensures you’ll get a good variety of demographics for your customers and potential customers. It also allows people to feel safe and more able to express their true feelings. To avoid adding pressure to the situation, these teleconferences should not be conducted by you but by an independent party.

We’re going to transition a bit and talk about how to construct a word-of-mouth campaign. First, we’ll talk a look at the essential ingredients you need to put together a campaign. These ingredients are:

  • A superior product
  • A way of reaching key influencers in your marketplace
  • A cadre of experts willing to bat for you
  • A large number of enthusiastic consumers
  • A way of reaching the right prospects
  • One or more compelling stories that people will want to tell to illustrate your product’s superiority
  • A way to substantiate, prove, or back up your claims and how the product will work in the real world
  • A way for people to have direct, low-risk experience, a demo, sample, or free trial
  • A way of reducing overall risk, an ironclad guarantee

Once you have those ingredients ready to use, you should consider the situations in which your company can benefit from a strong word-of-mouth program. Some of these situations are:

  • When there are credibility problems
  • When there are breakthroughs
  • When there are marginal improvements
  • Where the product has to be tried in large numbers or overtime
  • Where there is a high risk in trying the product
  • With older or mature products that have a news story that people tend to ignore
  • With unfair competitive practices such as spreading rumors or telling lies about your product
  • When there are governmental or other restrictions on what you may say or claim directly

While most of the word-of-mouth tactics are favorable for your word-of-mouth program, there are a few products to avoid using in this program. They are:

  • Products where a seminar would not provide meaningful added value
  • Products that can’t be tried and where there is no consensus among experts
  • Products that are inferior, without having a compensating superiority for similar products
  • Products that are so personal or emotional that rational discussion is irrelevant to the decision
  • The medium will not be cost-effective for products where the decision value is so small (low price/low volume). 

This wraps up this post on word-of-mouth research and how that research can be used when putting together your word-of-mouth campaign. However, if you need help with the research and a plan to use the results of that research, try our FREE test drive to get all the help you need with our top-notch resources and tools.


Decoding Word-Of-Mouth Messages

Posted by Doogie Levine

Today’s lesson will talk about how word of mouth messages are delivered and how you can influence those messages.

There is a simple hierarchy of how to make WOM most effective

  1. Be an expert talking to an expert
  2. Get that expert talking to ICA (Ideal Client Avatar)
  3. Then get the ICA to talk with other ICA’s

When experts talk about your products or service, you will usually receive an amazing rush of sales and new customers, so obviously, this is one of the best things that can happen. However, you can also help facilitate this by offering free products to experts to review.

Expert opinion can also bring about new ideas that help to fuel new products, services, and operating systems within your company. If you take the time to change or develop the opinions of even a small group of experts, you will have the opportunity to help your market explode.

There is a standard word-of-mouth delivery system that, in most cases, takes a few years. But, you can speed this up into only a few weeks. The traditional approach is:

  • First impressions from an expert
  • Organized trial of your products or services
  • Pooling peer experiences

It’s important to know exactly who is advocating for your products and service. Take the time to find out who they are and reward them. While you may already have a customer service system for filing complaints, do you have one for compiling praise? Most likely not. If you take the time to show these people appreciation, they will help take your products and services to the top. 

Some of the ways you can show them appreciation are:

  • Invite them to a customer appreciation dinner
  • Offer to videotape their testimonials
  • Ask to interview them for feedback to improve with
  • Offer them a premier customer membership
  • Ask them to join a referral incentive program

There are lots of things you can offer your biggest fans to help spread the word about your products and services. 

Conventional media has been around forever, and while it can still be effective, it’s lost a little of its luster over the last few years. There are a few reasons for this:

  • Expensive and doesn’t necessarily return results
  • Boring, lacking something fresh and new
  • Too short of a time slot to offer enough information

While these are all true, there are ways you can make conventional media work for you. For the information to be effective, it needs to be presented in the right sequence, come from the right sources, be relevant to the target customer, be credible, and be delivered at the right time in the medium. 

We’re going to switch gears a little and talk about the two phases of the product adoption cycle. Traditional media is great for taking you through the information stage, where you can offer the information you need to your potential customers. Still, it’s not so great for measuring the results of those efforts. 

Without these results, you can’t fine-tune your marketing and, therefore, can easily miss the boat and lose potential customers and waste a whole lot of money. Once a consumer has the information they need, they’ll go through a verification process as they analyze whether or not the purchase was a good one. They generally get their information through:

  • Direct experience with the product
  • Interaction with peers using the same product
  • Experts’ experience
  • Scientific journals and other resources
  • Independent reviews and opinions

You can accelerate this process by:

  • Providing your own demos and free trials
  • Offer them indirect experience through the experience of others
  • Offer a good, true story that can be passed around 

Once you have the ability and can work through these concepts, you will be able to target your customers much better. If you need help with any of this along the way, try our FREE test drive to gain access to our experienced business coaches.